E! News: Are you worried about your character's longevity on the show seeing as how besides Oliver, every other past Queen Consolidated CEO hasn't lasted very long in the job...or escaped with their life?
Brandon Routh: The show writes itself in that way and maybe I'm gone after a few episodes! Maybe I'm doomed! [Laughs.] As it would seem, Ray is probably doomed, but maybe he's the one guy that avoids that fate. As far as the character is concerned, no matter what happens with Queen Consolidated, Ray will survive. He's a smart guy and he's got contingency plans for whatever crazy scheme he might be up to.
He did steal the company in a very sneaky way from Oliver, so should we be rooting for or against Ray right now?
[Laughs.] You must have seen me on Chuck!
[Laughs.] I did!
People who have seen me on that show just don't trust me anymore. [Laughs.] I think it's fun to watch it that way, to watch it with open eyes for everything. There are a couple things that may be misleading or maybe they're not misleading in the next few episodes. Basically, Ray has an agenda and it's up to the viewers to decide whether it's good or bad. But that's part of the fun of it as well so I don't want to spoil that. But that's on purpose. They're toying with the fact that I've played both Superman and a Chuck villain to play with your mind right now.
Ray outlined a pretty radical plan for Queen Consolidated that seemed like it was good for Starling City's future, but we've come to not trust past QC CEOs—except for Oliver. Should we be searching for ulterior motives from Ray?
Searching, sure, there's an opportunity for that in the story and the mystery. Whether it's just because he's being shady because he doesn't want people to know what his true intentions are doesn't necessarily mean that his true intentions are bad. But they could be! They could turn on a dime! My intention for Ray, where he's coming from, is just that he's a really passionate guy who gets excited about life and technology and running this company.
Fair enough! In the logline for this week's episode, it vaguely says, "Ray Palmer pursues Felicity." Is that talking about in terms of working for him at QC or are we talking romance?
[Laughs.] Well, I think one turns into the other. At first, it's just purely platonic and purely about her and her amazing brain and tech abilities. That's why he seeks her out at Tech Town. He didn't know what she looked like or one thing about her and I think he was pleasantly surprised that she's as fetching as she is. It's her rebuttal and her rebuffing his advances when he starts to get into her that fuels the whole thing and makes her even more appealing. But at first, it's absolutely that she's just a tech wiz and has a job skill set that he's looking for.
Even though Felicity is focused on Oliver right now, she's got some amazing, undeniable chemistry with Ray. What can you tease about how that might change going forward?
It will grow as each one tries to figure the other one out. Plus, Felicity's dealing with all of the Oliver stuff and their first date disaster so as they try and figure out their relationship she's not in a place to even really consider what they may be. So in the first couple of episodes we're going to see Ray really try and get her on his team. He needs her for reasons that will be revealed later. And then the other thing becomes serendipitous, perhaps, the pursuit of this woman who is more than he thought she was.
"Olicity" fans are a very vocal bunch, so were you ever worried about coming on the show as a foil for them as a couple?
Worry, no. Concerned, maybe. Aware is definitely the word for it! When I came on to Chuck, I was very aware of the Sarah and Chuck relationship and not wanting to mess that up, which of course I did and then I did a whole lot of other bad things. [Laughs.] So I'm no stranger to that scenario. I guess I'm kind of embracing it now. Somebody has to, right? It's a challenge and it gives me even more of a reason to try and win everyone over with Ray's charm and his own sparkling qualities.
So how is Ray's pursuit of Felicity going to affect Oliver?
We really haven't had too much screen time yet together. I think that the tension is seen through Felicity, as Oliver sees how Felicity might be changing as she spends more time with Ray rather than us confronting each other. Ray pretty much has no knowledge of what's going on in Felicity's world. It's a little bit one-sided in that regard, but I'm sure at some point it will come to a head. We just haven't gotten to that point yet.
What are you most excited for fans to see from upcoming episodes?
There's a couple interactions between Felicity and Ray at Queen Consolidated that are pretty fun. Just us beginning to spar even more with each other, but it's in a lighthearted, flirty way. I think they're just so fun and such a different energy for the show that I'm excited to see how it balances out with the rest of the show which tends to be on the more dramatic side. They're like little comedic breaks from the action and I'm excited to see how people like that and if it's not too much of a break from the energy of the show that they're used to.
Comic book fans know that Ray Palmer becomes the Atom. While Arrow showrunners have said that you won't be shrinking down on Arrow, there's always a chance for you to shrink and become the Atom on The Flash. Would you be interested in crossing over to The Flash and embracing your comic book alter ego or would you rather Ray stayed human on Arrow?
Totally! [Laughs.] Who wants to be normal?! Normal is so boring! I absolutely would love to and it would be awesome to go over to The Flash. It's a really cool cast over there and the pilot was phenomenal. They're having such a good time since it seems like it's a little bit lighter of a show while still being pretty heavy in terms of drama in terms of action. The fact that they teased Palmer Industries in the Comic-Con trailer and all these other easter eggs is pretty cool. I'm excited because it's a whole new world of potential to see, if Ray was to cross over, what he would do and how he would interact with all those characters—plus to see him actually fulfill his Atom legacy would be awesome. That show lives in the light of day a lot more than Arrow does, Arrow is very dark, and I like the idea of spending a lot more time shooting in the daytime. [Laughs.] That's cool too! Being in the dark all the time starts to mess with you.